Anthony's Film Review

Chicago (2002)

This cinematic adaptation of a theatrical musical is memorable and wonderfully made...

Before its 2002 film adaptation, I never saw the stage musical Chicago. I had heard of it, because I would see ads for it on television, but I had no interest in theater at the time. Now I regret not seeing the stage show. I saw the 2002 film Chicago and was very impressed by its music, dance, and story, all blending into each other seamlessly. I also appreciated how the three stars of Chicago - Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, and Richard Gere - display extraordinary talent in skills other than acting. It made me think, "How could I have missed the live-stage version of Chicago when it toured near my hometown?"

Anyway, I'm not going to mope further about not seeing the stage musical. Instead, I'll just share with you my thoughts about how great the film version is.

The first couple of minutes of the film act as a warm-up for both the music and the story. Velma Kelly (Zeta-Jones) is doing a sassy song and dance number on a club stage. Meanwhile, Roxie Hart (Zellweger), an aspiring singer and dancer, has a sexual affair with a man whom she believes would help launch her career in show business. But that encounter turns ugly, forcing the man to beat her and Roxie to shoot him to death in retaliation. The story gets interesting when the police interrogate Roxie and her husband. The movie tells this part of the story by seamlessly cutting back and forth between live-action drama and Roxie in a musical number.

That's just the beginning. Not too long after Roxie is placed in jail, to eventually be executed by hanging, she imagines another dance number called Cell Block Tango. This is where Velma, also in jail for killing someone (actually, two people), and several female inmates are scantily clad, doing sensual dances, talking about why they're in jail, and singing how the men they killed had it coming. This is where the film instantly gets good, and thankfully, it stays that way until the film ends.

Roxie's only hope for freedom lies in one man: defense attorney Billy Flynn (Gere). A corrupt prison matron, played by Queen Latifah, tells Roxie about how Flynn has never lost a case. His fee may be hefty, but Roxie figures it's worth it. How Flynn helps Roxie is amazing, and the musical numbers that tell the story alongside the live-action scenes are just flawless. It's not just the musical talent of Zeta-Jones, Zellweger, and Gere (plus Queen Latifah in one early musical number) that is amazing. It's also the dance choreography. It's very clear that the cast and crew worked hard to make all of the musical scenes perfect.

Chicago is one of those movies where you have to see it to believe it. It does a marvelous job in telling a story in two different ways, side by side. You can tell that everyone in the cast and crew put their heart into this movie. There's no other way I could describe it. I shall now end this review by going against one thing I said earlier: I really do wish I had seen Chicago the live theatrical stage musical. Then again, if the 2002 film version is as good, then I can say I have truly experienced the wonder of this brilliant musical.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Chicago, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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